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Carbon Facts

Carbon Chemical & Physical Properties

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Diamond is one form of pure carbon.

Diamond is one form of pure carbon.

USGS Photograph of graphite, one of the forms of elemental carbon.

Photograph of graphite, one of the forms of elemental carbon.

USGS These are fullerene crystals of carbon. Each crystal unit consists of 60 carbon atoms.

These are fullerene crystals of carbon. Each crystal unit consists of 60 carbon atoms.

Moebius1, Wikipedia Commons
Periodic Table of the Elements

Carbon

Atomic Number: 6

Symbol: C

Atomic Weight: 12.011

Discovery: Carbon exists free in nature and has been known since prehistoric time.

Electron Configuration: [He]2s22p2

Word Origin: Latin carbo, German Kohlenstoff, French carbone: coal or charcoal

Isotopes: There are seven natural isotopes of carbon. In 1961 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry adopted the isotope carbon-12 as the basis for atomic weights.

Properties: Carbon is found free in nature in three allotropic forms: amorphous (lampblack, boneblack), graphite, and diamond. A fourth form, 'white' carbon, is thought to exist. Diamond is one of the hardest substances, with a high melting point and index of refraction.

Uses: Carbon forms numerous and varied compounds with limitless applications. Many thousands of carbon compounds are integral to life processes. Diamond is prized as a gemstone and is used for cutting, drilling, and as bearings. Graphite is used as a crucible for melting metals, in pencils, for rust protection, for lubrication, and as a moderator for slowing neutrons for atomic fission. Amorphous carbon is used for removing tastes and odors.

Element Classification: Non-Metal

Density (g/cc): 2.25 (graphite)

Melting Point (K): 3820

Boiling Point (K): 5100

Appearance: dense, black (carbon black)

Atomic Volume (cc/mol): 5.3

Ionic Radius: 16 (+4e) 260 (-4e)

Specific Heat (@20°C J/g mol): 0.711

Debye Temperature (°K): 1860.00

Pauling Negativity Number: 2.55

First Ionizing Energy (kJ/mol): 1085.7

Oxidation States: 4, 2, -4

Lattice Structure: Diagonal

Lattice Constant (Å): 3.570

Crystal Structure: hexagonal

Electronegativity: 2.55 (Pauling scale)

Atomic Radius: 70 pm

Atomic Radius (calc.): 67 pm

Covalent Radius: 77 pm

Van der Waals Radius: 170 pm

Magnetic Ordering: diamagnetic

Thermal Conductivity (300 K) (graphite): (119–165) W·m−1·K−1

Thermal Conductivity (300 K) (diamond): (900–2320) W·m−1·K−1

Thermal Diffusivity (300 K) (diamond): (503–1300) mm²/s

Mohs Hardness (graphite): 1-2

Mohs Hardness (diamond): 10.0

CAS Registry Number: 7440-44-0

References: Los Alamos National Laboratory (2001), Crescent Chemical Company (2001), Lange's Handbook of Chemistry (1952)

Quiz: Ready to test your carbon facts knowledge? Take the Carbon Facts Quiz.

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